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The Anatomy of the Ears

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

The human ear is the primary organ of hearing. They allow us to be able to hear and listen to different sounds and even noise. It is actually separated into three different areas  depending upon its location. The ear has three primary parts known as the human outer ear, the middle ear and lastly, the inner ear. Sound is heard by means of passing through a series of pathways in the ear. Of course from the names themselves, the outer ear is the one that can be easily seen because it is nearest or it is actually outside the body . On the other hand, the middle and also the inner ear are actually located deeper into the body and may require otoscopes for viewing. Otoscopes or auriscopes are medical instruments that are used to view the inner areas of the ear.

Sound travels easily along the three main parts of the ear. First of all, the sound in the form of waves starts reaching to our outer ear. After such, it eventually reaches the middle ear and as it goes deeper into the inner ear, it is eventually converted to compressional waves which are easily turned into electric signals or impulses to be processed by the brain.

The Different Parts

The Outer Ear

Our outer ear is considered as the most external part of the ear that is why it is easily exposed to the environment. It is greatly visible and it serves as a protection for the inner parts of the ear which are more delicate. One of the most delicate parts within the ear is the eardrum.  The outer ear serves as the receiving area of all the sound waves that will reach the ear. It also serves as a guide that directs these collected and received sound waves towards the middle ear where it is continuously transported to the inner ear.

Looking Into Our Outer Ear

Our outer ear is known to have the pinna and the ear canal. The pinna is known as the ear flap which serves as the primary entrance of the sound waves to the ear. On the other hand, the ear canal serves as the pathway of the sound waves to our middle ear. The ear canal measures about 2cm in length and it is where earwax are formed by means of the secretion of the sweat glands.

Looking Into Our Middle Ear

Our middle ear is known as the deeper part right before the inner ear. It is described as an air-filled area where the eardrum,  malleus, incus and stapes can be found. The eardrum serves to convert the sound energy received through the outer ear into mechanical energy. Also known as tympanic membrane it is described as the thin membrane dividing the middle from the inner part of the ear. The malleus, incus and stapes are small bones inside the ear. The malleus or hammer is found nearest the eardrum and is known to receive the vibrations produced by such membrane. The incus or the anvil is found right next to the malleus and continuously receives the latter’s vibration. Lastly, the stirrup or the stapes is the last of the bone series receiving the vibration and passes it to the inner ear.

Looking Into Our Inner Ear

Our inner ear or what is also known as the labyrinth is the deepest part of the ear. It mainly functions not only for hearing but also for balancing the different parts of the body. It is composed of different parts like the cochlea, semicircular canals and the auditory nerve. The cochlea is a spiral tube structure that is rolled and measures up to 3cm in length. The cochlea is said to be lined with a lot of hairlike nerve cells that are very responsive to the vibrations transmitted to it from the middle ear. These vibrations are eventually turned into electrical impulses transmitted to the brain. The semicircular canals are connected to the cochlea and are very essential in promoting balance of the body. Lastly, the auditory nerve is responsible for transmitting the impulses created in the cochlea to the brain.

These are the different parts that are responsible for the main function of hearing and also balance. Proper care must be given to each of these parts no matter how small or big they maybe because they work hand in hand to achieve normal hearing function. Any damage to any of these parts can definitely cause significant hearing impairment.

Common Ear Problems

There are a lot of common ear problems that can affect different people nowadays.  People should definitely be made aware of the existence of such ear problems so  they will know how to deal with such conditions once they encounter them.

Ear Infections

One of the most common problems that must be given proper medical attention is an ear infection. One of the most common types of ear infection is the one that affects the middle part of the ear. This type of infection is known as otitis media. Due to infection, certain parts of the ear actually become filled with mucus and fluid which can greatly affect the proper transmission of sound in the ears.

Because of this, hearing can be impaired at some point in persons with severe cases of otitis media. One of the most common symptoms of ear infection is observable from the ear which is often described to be in yellowish to white color. Ear tugging can also be a sign of existing ear infections together with observable problems in balance.

People know that the ear is not only very essential when it comes to maintaining proper hearing, but it is also essential in regulating the balance of the body. Ear infection can be effectively treated with the use of antibiotics that are properly prescribed by the physician.

Meniere’s Disease

Another one of the most common ear problems is Meniere’s Disease.  One of the most common symptoms associated with Meniere’s Disease is severe dizziness which can greatly affect one’s balance. This can totally interfere with the performance of one’s usual activities. Aside from severe dizziness, tinnitus or ringing of the ears can also be associated with Meniere’s Disease. 

There would also be instances when the person diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease could experience intense pressure in the ears. Pain can also go together with the ringing of the ears which are usually experienced in just one side of the ears. If not treated, this ear problem can definitely lead to total loss of hearing.

Medical treatment should be sought as early as possible once you detect any of the associated symptoms in order to prevent severe consequences primarily involving hearing loss. You can be prescribed with several medications together with the most appropriate diet plan for your condition. You can also be prescribed a surgical procedure if the problem is already severe in nature.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s Ear can also be considered as one of the most common ear problems encountered by people. This condition usually happens when there is increased moisture in the ear canal which leads to the development of infection. Some of the common symptoms associated with Swimmer’s Ear are redness of the ear, pain, itching, and drainage from the ear and even impaired hearing. Treatment of this ear problem would involve the use of antibiotics prescribed by your physician.

These are some of the most common ear problems that the people should definitely be aware of.



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